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H MS c155

Guttmacher, Alan Frank, 1898- . Papers, 1860s, 1898-1974: A Finding Aid.

Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Harvard Medical Library and Boston Medical Library

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September 2, 2005

©2005 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Call No.: H MS c155
Creator: Guttmacher, Alan Frank, 1898-
Title: Papers, 1860s, 1898-1974.
Quantity: 19.75 cubic feet in 18 record cartons, 1 flat document box, 1 legal document box, and 2 half document boxes.
Abstract: The Alan F. Guttmacher Papers, 1860s, 1898-1974, are the product of Guttmacher's activities as President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and as a family planning advocate from the 1950s to his death in 1974. The bulk of the collection includes correspondence, meeting minutes, memoranda, article and lecture notes and drafts, and photographs resulting from his administrative activities as President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1962 to 1974.

Acquisition Information:

The Alan F. Guttmacher Papers were donated to the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine in 1975 by Mrs. Leonore Guttmacher.

Processing Information:

Processed by Anne Woodrum and Jennifer Pelose, July 2005.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered, reboxed, and created a finding aid for the Alan F. Guttmacher Papers. Processing staff discarded duplicate records and records that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine.

Access Restrictions:

Access requires advance notice. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I, II, and III. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult the Public Services Librarian for further information.
The Alan F. Guttmacher Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact reference staff for more information concerning retrieval of material.

Use Restrictions:

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Public Services Librarian. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Public Services Librarian are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright. Reference Services and Access Information.

Preferred Citation:

Alan F. Guttmacher papers, 1860, 1898-1974. H MS c 155. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Related Collections in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine

Consult the Public Services Librarian for further information.

Related Records at Other Institutions

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America Records, 1915-1974, can be found at Smith College, Sophia Smith Collection.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America Records, 1921-1981, can be found at Smith College, Sophia Smith Collection.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

Biographical Note

Alan F. Guttmacher (1898-1974) was President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) from 1962 to 1974. During his tenure, Guttmacher counseled women on reproductive health matters and was an advocate for family planning and women's reproductive rights. Guttmacher was an obstetrician,gynecologist, and family planning advocate in Baltimore, MD before relocating to New York City in 1952 to The Mount Sinai Hospital, and later to the PPFA.
Alan Frank Guttmacher was born on 19 May 1898 in Baltimore, Maryland. He received an A.B. from Johns Hopkins University 1919, and an M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1923. Guttmacher completed his internship in obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore in 1924, and finished his residency at Johns Hopkins Unviersity in 1928. He spent one year, 1927-1928, of his residency at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City as a junior, and later Chief resident.
Guttmacher held several academic appointments at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine between 1926 to 1952, culminating in his appointment as Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. While practicing obstetrics and gynecology in Baltimore from 1929 to 1952, Guttmacher served as Chief of Obstetrics at the Sinai Hospital in Baltimore from 1943 to 1952. He was appointed Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1952, and was simultaneously appointed the first combined Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Guttmacher held this position at The Mount Sinai Hospital until 1962. He was later named Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Guttmacher was named visiting professor of maternal health at Harvard Medical School in 1961, and later also served as visiting professor at the Albert Einstein Medical School.
While practicing at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Guttmacher served as director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau (MSRB), a facility that worked closely with the PPFA and focused on the service, research, training in the control of human reproduction, from 1959 to 1962. Guttmacher left Mount Sinai in 1962, when he was named President of the PPFA. He served as President of the PPFA until his death in 1974.
Guttmacher first became involved in the family planning movement in Baltimore, when as an intern, he watched a woman die from a failed abortion. He subsequently became an active member and advocate for women's reproductive rights at the Baltimore PPFA affiliate; he later became nationally involved in the organization when he moved to New York in 1952. Guttmacher served as the volunteer chairman of Planned Parenthood's National Medical Committee before assuming the PPFA presidency in 1962.
As President, Guttmacher spearheaded PPFA's transition to a social advocate for the problems of poverty in the United States. In the early 1960s, the PPFA merged with an existing national program, World Population Emergency Campaign, to provide voluntary family planning services to low-income communities who needed and wanted them, and to highlight the inadequacies of health care for the poor. By 1968, the organization assisted the government in the creation of public policy and programs. Guttmacher also worked closely with the leadership of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) throughout the 1960s to advocate for family planning programs in Asia, Latin America, and Africa in an effort to curb global overpopulation. Guttmacher and his colleagues traveled to these areas to lecture to physicians and medical professionals, assist local family planning agencies, and to meet with citizens and government officials to discuss the advantages of family planning services. Guttmacher also continued to counsel individual women about family planning, providing abortion provider referrals and information, via correspondence and in-office consultation while President of PPFA.
Aside from Guttmacher's responsibilities at PPFA, he remained involved in other professional organizations including the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the New York Obstetrical Society. Guttmacher published several books and articles and lectured on topics such as abortion, family planning, fertility, global overpopulation, pregnancy and delivery, and teenage sex throughout his career. In 1961 he published The Complete Book of Birth Control, the first paperback book solely focusing on birth control. He traveled internationally lecturing to family planning groups, physicians, and college students on the importance of legalized abortion, birth control, and sexual responsibility.
Alan F. Guttmacher died of leukemia on 18 March 1974. He was 75 years old.

Scope and Content

The Alan F. Guttmacher Papers are the product of Guttmacher's administrative and professional activities as the President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, from 1962 to 1974 as well as his work in private practice and research as a family planning advocate and administrator, obstetrician, and gynecologist. The collection also contains personal and family correspondence and papers.
The bulk of the collection contains Guttmacher's records from his tenure as President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and include correspondence, memoranda, travel diaries, research files, itineraries, meeting minutes, lecture notes, and patient records produced from his administrative activities and travels. Topical correspondence and writings in this collection focus on abortion, birth control,contraception, family planning, fertility, multiple birth,global population control, and pregnancy. Records from Guttmacher's training, early practice, and research in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine include operating room journals and research files. Few items address the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court abortion case. Limited records are available from Guttmacher's tenure at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York before he became President of the PPFA in 1962. The collection contains correspondence and notes from Guttmacher's service as medical director of the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau in New York City. Personal and biographical records include research completed away from his activities at PPFA, family correspondence, notes, and candid photographs.
The Alan F. Guttmacher Papers consist of three series: Series I. Planned Parenthood Administrative Records; Series II. Professional Activities Records; Series III. Personal and Biographical Records. Series I and III contain personnel and patient information that is restricted for 80 years. The end of the restriction period is noted with each folder. Media, including phonographic records and film reels, are housed in box 18. Oversized items are housed in boxes 19, 21, and 22. There are 54 files of photographs including candid photographs of Guttmacher with colleagues and his family located in Series I, II, and III.

Series Descriptions and Container List


med00035